Sorry it's been awhile. I've had a lot on my mind.
This corner of the world is home to the North American headquarters of NATO, seeing as how we are also home to the largest military complex in the world. Every year, the nice NATO people put on a big party, in the form of the International Azalea Festival, in which one of the NATO countries is highlighted and honored. There is also a queen, some lovely young woman from the honored country. In years gone by, she was traditionally the daughter (and not always so lovely) of some important dignitary, but of late, they have selected any ol' Sally Sue. As long as she has some accomplishments under her belt, she is fair game. This year, the comely queen came to the Home to see our kids. Here is the story from our own blog.
Anyway, the Festival is timed to coincide with the height of azalea season here. We have azaleas here. LOTS of azaleas. Everywhere you look are azaleas. If you are willing to put up with shrubbery ("Bring me a shrubbery!" Movie reference - Sista G & BS can't play) that is ugly & scraggly & brown for most of the year, for about a month in the spring you will be rewarded with a riot of color that is unmatched by anything you will see. You can't step out your front door without tripping into them. Seriously. C'mon denizens of the southeast, back me up here.
In fact, unless your yard is full of them, your neighbors will likely drop broad hints that you pack up your bratwurst & New England clam chowder and get your obvious Yankee ass back up Nawth where it belongs. Only they will be ever so polite & genteel about it.
So I decided to step out my front door and stumble over my own to give you a little peek at what I am talking about here. All taken with my point-&-shoot set on 'auto' (hear that Russ?)
Front of the house:
Back of the house:
See what I mean? And my yard is not unusual. What is unusual is how much the blasted bushes need trimming. My neighbors tend to keep their bushes neatly trimmed.
HA! That sounds dirty.